There are very few instances where you would even consider leaving your baby unattended. One of the few occasions where your baby will be left without your watchful eye at night, while he is sleeping.
Because of this, it is absolutely vital that you choose a safe crib mattress with a supportive mattress pad.
There are so many different types of crib mattresses available, all claiming to be the very best for your baby.
How do you dig through the advertisements and gimmicks to determine which mattress will be best for your baby?
I have created a super detailed guide on crib mattresses that will provide you with all the information you need to choose the perfect mattress for your baby.
Once you have finished reading, you will be able to call yourself a crib mattress expert. You will also be able to determine which high-quality mattress is best suited for your child!
Use the links below to jump to your preferred section of the guide or keep reading from top to bottom, it’s all great information.
- The Best Crib Mattress
- Crib Mattress FAQ
- The different types of crib mattresses?
- What to look for when buying a crib mattress
- Should you buy a new or used crib mattress?
- Crib mattresses maintenance
- General crib mattress care
- Extra Crib mattress safety advice
With the introduction out of the way, it’s time to jump into the meat of the guide.
The Best Crib Mattress
Before we continue I will quickly cover what most of you came here for. I am going to quickly cover the best crib mattress available in each category.
The following mattresses have been praised by parents across the world as being the best that money can buy. Not only are they popular but super effective at providing your baby with a safe and comfortable surface to sleep on at night.
Best Natural Foam Crib Mattress
Soybean Foam Crib Mattress – Sealy Baby Soybean Foam-Core Waterproof Standard Toddler & Baby Crib
Color: As pictured
- Waterproof cover
- Fits standard cribs
- Firm and supportive
The Sealy Soybean Foam crib mattress I used for my second baby and can not sing its praises enough.
There is a reason Sealy won the Women’s Choice Award in 2013 and 2014 for America’s Best For Baby Mattress and Bedding. They just make good mattresses. This toddler mattress has a stain-resistant waterproof cover.
While it does make the mattress cover feel like a comfortable plastic, it makes the mattress surface waterproof, preventing night time diaper leaks from soaking into the mattress.
Rather than the plastic or metal vents that are found on the side of other mattresses, the foam core mattress uses material pockets to allow the air to circulate inside.
These pockets help prevent the mattress from giving off a stale smell as it ages. While the mattress is firm and supportive, it is light enough to easily change the crib sheets.
On the subject of crib sheets, if you regularly fit this mattress with tight crib sheets you may notice the corners start to become slightly rounded. This does not in any way impact the functionality of the mattress.
Sealy is confident in its product, offering a lifetime warranty on workmanship and materials.
Best Dual Firm Crib Mattress
Eco Classica III Dual firmness Eco-Friendlier Crib mattress
- Waterproof cover
- Fits standard cribs
- Suits babies and toddlers
- Greenguard certified
The Colgate Eco Classica is a crib mattress that is cleverly designed to accommodate your baby as he transitions to the toddler phase with a simple flip of the mattress.
One side of the mattress is firm and supportive for infants while the other is slightly softer, providing additional comfort for your toddler. Don’t worry, the sides are very clearly marked so you will not be confused by which side is the right side!
If you are worried about off-gassing (the bad smell that new mattresses give off will be pleased to know that this crib mattress has almost none.
In fact, the mattress is GREENGUARD children and schools certified meaning it passes all standards for indoor air quality. No harmful chemicals or harmful emissions mean your baby can sleep easily and so can you!
The cover is certified organic cotton and even has a waterproof backing. This means that while the cover may get wet, no fluids will soak further into the mattress.
This is one natural crib mattress, Colgate has worked hard to ensure that the foam inside is made with plant oils rather than petroleum-based oils.
The mattress fits tightly into a standard crib, ensuring there are no gaps between the crib rail and the mattress. Some parents warn that the mattress fits a little too tight when using thick crib sheets. An advantage of the foam core, the mattress is very lightweight. This makes lifting the mattress to change the sheets a much easier task than some of the bulkier mattresses.
Best Memory Foam Crib Mattress
Colgate Eco Classica III Dual Firmness Orthopedic Style Crib Mattress
- Waterproof cover
- Fits standard crib
- Suits babies and toddlers
Memory foam is experiencing a huge burst in popularity so it is unsurprising that is has found its way into crib mattresses. What is surprising, however, is that the mattress is a great contender for the best crib mattress.
The mattress features a removable velour cover that can easily be thrown through a washing machine cycle. The cover is also waterproof, preventing diaper leaks from seeping into the mattress.
Despite being made of synthetic foam, the mattress is phthalates and lead-free while meeting the federal flammability standards. Parents of infants with allergies will be pleased to note that this mattress is hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant.
Be mindful that this mattress is firmer than what you would expect from a memory foam product. This firmness is by design as a soft memory foam mattress would be unsafe for an infant.
Kittrich Bedding stands behind the mattress, offering a 10-year limited warranty.
Best cheap crib mattress
- Waterproof cover
- Hypoallergenic surface
- Dual firmness
Those of you shopping for a crib mattress on a budget will not have the product range available to you as shoppers with fatter wallets.
Fortunately, there are still some very affordable crib mattress options available that still offer your baby a comfortable nights sleep.
Despite being a foam crib mattress it retains its shape really well with many parents declaring that it lasted through their little one’s toddler years.
The foam itself is high density providing a firm sleeping surface for your baby. Being made from foam this mattress is fairly lightweight, which helps when changing the sheets.
The vinyl cover is not only torn resistant but also resistant to stains and smells. Like the other mattresses in this list the cover is easy to wipe down with a cloth. The vinyl cover can even be taken off by undoing the zipper, in case you wanted to wash it or change it out.
Crib Mattress FAQ
Below I will answer some of the more commonly asked questions surrounding crib mattresses
What is a crib mattress?
A crib mattress is essentially a mini mattress designed to fit snuggly inside your baby crib. A crib mattress is designed to provide a safe and supportive surface for your baby to sleep on.
When should a crib mattress be bought?
A crib mattress is usually bought at the same time as a baby crib. The majority of mothers looking to buy a crib mattress while they are still pregnant, just before the beginning of the third trimester.
How long will your baby use a crib mattress for?
Your baby will sleep on a crib mattress for the same amount of time that a crib is used. Many parents continue using the same crib mattress when their child transitions to a toddler bed.
When should you replace your crib mattress?
A crib mattress should last approximately three years if properly maintained and cared for. This coincides with the time that your baby should no longer be sleeping in the crib.
Visible signs of wear and tear are a sure sign that it is time to replace your baby’s crib mattress.
The different types of crib mattresses?
I am sure you have heard the saying “It’s what’s on the inside that counts”. This is also true for crib mattresses. The comfort provided by the mattress is entirely dependent on the material that makes up the mattresses’ core.
Crib mattresses are generally named after the material that makes up the majority of their core.
By taking the time to learn about the benefits and potential problems associated with each material, you will be able to make an informed decision as to which crib mattress is best for your baby.
Below are some of the most common types of crib mattresses.
Foam crib mattress
Advancements in modern technology have allowed manufacturers to include all manner of features in their high chairs. Modern high chairs look vaguely like the traditional variety but are highly adjustable.
Modern high chairs are also known as multifunctional high chairs and can be adjusted to suit your baby’s comfort. Different pieces of the high chair that you can adjust include:
- Height of the chair
- Recline of the seat
- Height of the tray
- Foot rest height
The cheapest and most basic variety of crib mattresses. As the name suggests, the only material inside this mattress is one or more blocks of foam.<br
A foam mattress is the lightest weight of all crib mattresses. This makes a foam mattress a great choice if you have a portable crib that you fold up when not in use. The lightweight will make removing the mattress an incredibly simple task.
The foam used to make up a mattress comes in many different varieties. Polyurethane, bamboo fiber, and latex are just a few of the materials that can make up a foam mattress.
It is worth researching what type of foam is inside the mattress. Polyurethane foam, for example, is cheap but “sinks” easily while latex foam is longer lasting but more expensive.
Be mindful that not only does foam come in different densities but also varying levels of firmness. Generally speaking, the firmer and denser a foam mattress is, the safer it is for your baby.
The thickness of a foam mattress can also vary from brand to brand. The thickness of most foam crib mattresses will fall between 3 and 6 inches.
- The cheapest crib mattress option
- Available in a wide range of sizes
- Less durable than other mattresses
- Not recommended as a long term solution
Coil Spring Crib Mattress
Also known as innerspring mattresses, coil spring mattresses get their name from the coiled steel that makes up the mattress core.
Due to their steel construction, coil spring crib mattresses are much heavier than their foam cousins.
Many brands love to advertise the coil count of their mattresses. While coil count is important, more coils do not necessarily mean a firmer, more comfortable crib mattress.
Instead, look at the gauge (thickness) of the steel used. Coils should be a steel gauge of 15.5 or lower. The lower the gauge, the thicker the steel wire that makes up each coil.
Each coiled spring is joined to the next by a steel frame. When weight is placed on top of the mattress, every spring will compress to a certain degree.
Avoid cheaper coil spring crib mattresses. Poor quality coil mattresses will squeak with every tiny movement your baby makes. For a parent who is already sleep-deprived, this is the last thing you want to hear in the middle of the night.
- One of the heaviest types of crib mattresses available
- More expensive than a foam mattress
- Poor quality coil springs can squeak
Pocket Spring Crib Mattress
Similar to the mattress above, a pocket spring mattresses uses coils of steel to support your baby. The main difference is that rather than be connected to one another, each spring is sewn into its own material pocket.
Due to their steel construction, coil spring crib mattresses are much heavier than their foam cousins.
The individual pockets allow each spring to move independently of each other. What this essentially means is that each spring will compress according to the amount of weight placed upon it.
The pocket spring supporting your baby’s back will compress more than the spring supporting your baby’s legs. This results in the perfect amount of support for your baby’s entire body.
- Excellent support
- Incredibly comfortable
- One of the most expensive crib mattresses
Memory Foam Crib Mattress
Memory foam mattresses feature a temperature-sensitive foam that molds to your baby’s body shape. If you lift your baby off the mattress, the memory foam will slowly spring back to its original shape.
If your nursery is cold, you may find that the memory foam mattress is initially hard. However, as you lay your baby down to sleep, the foam will slowly mold to your baby’s shape.
Since the memory foam hugs your baby’s body, air circulation is reduced. This can make the mattress feel warmer. This feature makes a memory foam crib mattress a popular choice in colder climates.
The majority of memory foam crib mattresses contain a coiled spring core with a layer of memory foam on top. As a result, a memory foam mattress cannot be flipped over.
- onforms to your baby’s body shape
- Springs back to its original shape
- Reduced air circulation results in warmth
- May be too hot in summer
- Cannot be flipped over
Natural and Organic Crib Mattress
Many parents do not wish to introduce their little baby to harsh, or harmful chemicals at such a young age.
Conventional mattresses are made from petroleum by-products and treated with flame retardant chemicals such as boric acid. If the thought of this makes you shudder, then a natural crib mattress is just the thing you need.
As the name suggests, these mattresses are made from natural materials and fibers. Some commonly used materials that find their way into natural crib mattresses include:
- Untreated wool:A natural flame retardant and dust mite resistant.
- Organic cotton: Breathable and chemical-free.
- Natural latex: A natural alternative to petroleum based foam.
- Coconut Fiber: Highly breathable.
Unfortunately, due to loose regulations, a mattress that advertises itself as being organic may only contain a small amount of natural material.
If you are set on buying a natural crib mattress, be sure to read plenty of user reviews or contact the manufacturer directly to determine what percentage of the crib mattress is made from natural materials.
- Chemical free
- Gentle on allergies
- plusLong lasting
- plusBreaths well
- Not as common as other crib mattresses
- More research is required before buying
- minusFirmness varies with materials used
What to look for when buying a crib mattress
Once you have chosen the type of mattress that will suit your baby it is time to compare the brands. Below are some points to consider when comparing one crib mattress to another.
What materials make up the crib mattress cover?
The cover of the crib mattress serves two very important purposes:
- It stops the mattresses insides from falling out
- It protects the mattress core
While some mattress covers are little more than a thin layer of material, others are strengthened with nylon to decrease the chance of tears and holes forming. Some mattress covers are waterproof, preventing urine, dribble and leaking diapers from soaking into the core of the mattress. A waterproof crib mattress cover will make cleaning an incredibly simple task.
You may be thinking that this isn’t overly important as a crib sheet will protect the mattress. You will be very surprised by just how much pee can leak out of your baby during the middle of the night. Much more than a crib sheet can soak up.
How firm is the mattress?
A firm mattress is safest for your baby. A soft mattress poses a suffocation risk. The National Institute of Child Health & Human Development recommends a firm crib mattress.
Use a firm sleep surface, covered by a fitted sheet, to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death.
You can determine whether the mattress is too soft by simply pressing around the center and edge of the mattress with your hand. The mattress should bounce back to its original shape and not conform to your hand.
If it doesn’t bounce back, then the mattress is too soft for your baby. You might need a more high-density foam mattress if this is the case.
Remember: put aside your own preferences when shopping for a crib mattress. While you may think a crib mattress is too firm, your baby will think it’s just right.
Is the crib mattress hypoallergenic?
Baby’s don’t sleep much through the night as it is. The last thing you want is for your baby to wake up because the crib mattress has triggered your little one’s allergies.
Hypoallergenic literally means “less allergenic”. If your baby is has been diagnosed with asthma or allergies then a hypoallergenic crib mattress will help prevent irritation while using the mattress.
Is the mattress well ventilated?
It is important that air can easily circulate through your baby’s mattress. Fresh air helps prevent mold, mildew and odor from building up inside your crib mattress.
While most mattresses are made from materials that breath, others take ventilation a step further. Located on the sides of the mattress are small plastic or metal vents. These vents allow air to easily enter, circulate and exit the mattress.
How heavy is the crib mattress?
The majority of parents wash their crib sheets at least once a week. Each time you replace the crib sheets you will need to lift the mattress up to properly fit the sheets.
Sheet changing time rolls around quickly and it can be quite a task lifting up a bulky crib mattress. A lighter mattress will make changing the sheets a much simpler task. Parents with wrist injuries will have particular problems lifting up crib mattresses.
The lightest crib mattresses available are made from foam.
Is the mattress flame retardant?
The above image serves as a horrifying reminder of just how flammable a mattress can be, burning to the ground in minutes, leaving nothing but the metal springs inside behind.
Under U.S law, all crib mattresses sold in America must meet flammability standards. Put simply, this means that if the fire was to come into contact with your mattress, it will not burn to the ground the blink of an eye.
Be mindful that some crib mattresses use toxic chemicals in order to reduce flammability. These chemicals can have a negative impact on the health of your developing child. It is highly recommended that you buy a crib mattress that is free from toxic fire retardants.
Should you buy a new or used crib mattress?
When buying a mattress for your baby it is always best to buy new. While choosing a used crib mattress may save you money, the negatives far outweigh the positives. Some of the problems with used mattresses include:
Used mattresses are unsanitary
As you have no doubt – and are very aware, your baby is a fluid-producing machine. Urine, poop, dribble and vomit. Chances are that your baby’s mattress will come into contact with all of these across it’s life.
When buying a used crib you do not know how well the previous owner has cleaned and maintained the crib. While a used mattress may look clean, residue from baby fluids can be hiding just below the surface, providing a feast for bacteria.
Used crib mattresses can hide dust mites
If the previous mattress owner did not thoroughly wash and clean the crib sheets then you may be inheriting a family of dust mites along with your new purchase. You don’t want the bed bugs to bite, do you?
Used crib mattresses may not last the distance
Despite your best efforts, all mattresses will eventually start to sag. A used crib mattress is a lot closer to the sagging stage than one bought new.
You don’t want to spend money on a used crib mattress only to discover that it didn’t last the duration that your baby sleeps in a crib. If this happens, you will need to buy a new mattress anyway, which may be more expensive than if you choose to buy a new crib mattress to begin with.
Used crib mattresses may increase the risk of SIDS
If the previous points don’t scare you off buying a used crib mattress then this one definitely will. Back in 2002 the British Medical Journal published a study that examined the link between SIDS and used crib mattresses.
The main analysis showed a significant association between sudden infant death syndrome and routine use of a used infant mattress
A significant association. Pretty scary stuff.
It is less of a problem if you are planning on reusing your existing mattress for your second baby as you will be fully aware how well you cared for the previous mattress. If you are feeling guilty about the lack of care, it may be best to buy a replacement.
So there you have it, while a new crib mattress may be expensive, it is better to make spending cuts elsewhere if you are looking to save a few dollars.
Crib mattresses maintenance
By taking proper care, you will ensure that your baby’s mattress will stay clean and sterile for the duration of its use. This section focuses on how to care for your crib mattress as well as cleaning up those inevitable baby accidents.
General crib mattress care
After handing over a wad of cash for your baby’s new mattress, you want to ensure that it lasts as long as possible. Let’s take a look at the steps to properly maintaining a crib mattress.
Rotate the mattress
At the beginning of each new season, rotate your baby’s mattress so that what was once the foot is now the head. The following season flip the mattress.
While this may seem like unnecessary acrobatics, you are ensuring that your mattress wears evenly. Using this method from the beginning can help prevent the sagging that comes from sleeping in the same spot. If your baby’s mattress has unique layers or is pillow-topped, simply rotate the mattress each season.
Use a mattress covers
Allowing your baby to sleep directly on the crib mattress will lead to rapid aging. Diaper leaks and sharp nails can make short work of the top of a mattress. It is much to change crib sheets than it is to clean your entire mattress.
Change the sheets regularly
On the topic of changing the sheets, it is vital that you complete this chore regularly. Frequently changing the sheets will ensure that odor and dirt don’t build up and transfer to the mattress. Many parents change their crib sheets once a week.
How to remove urine from a crib mattress
Oh no, your baby’s diaper has leaked!
Time is of the essence, the quicker you act, the less the chance of the urine soaking into the mattress core and staining.
You will need:
- Enzyme based cleaner
- Baking Soda
- Vacuum cleaner
- Lightly blot up excess urine with the cloth, avoid pressing the urine further into the mattress.
- Using an enzyme-based cleaner, spray the urine and blot off with a cloth. These cleaners help break down the uric acid.
- Generously sprinkle baking soda onto the wet patch left behind and leave overnight.
- In the morning, vacuum the baking soda down, patting down the mattress to reveal any hidden baking soda.
You have effectively eliminated the chance of urine odor forming. Be sure to keep these basic cleaning products handy incase another urine spill happens in the future.
How to clean baby poop from a crib mattress
You don’t know how it happened but it did. Your baby has managed to get poop onto his mattress. Once again, the quicker you act, the less chance you have of a stain forming.
You will need:
- Latex gloves
- Old cloth or rags
- Enzyme based cleaner
- Empty spray bottle
- Using latex gloves pick up any solid clumps of poop. Throw in the trash.
- Carefully scrape away the remaining baby poop with a spoon. Be careful not to push the poop further into the mattress.
- Spray down the area with enzyme-based cleaner and leave to sit for 10 minutes.
- Blot the cleaner up with an old cloth. You may need to scrub the spot a little. Repeat step 3 and 4 if there is still a poop stain.
- To remove the smell, place vinegar into spray bottle and apply to the previously poop-filled area of the mattress.
- Take the crib mattress outside to air out. If this is not an option, set up a fan and direct the breeze at the crib mattress.
Your crib mattress should now not only be baby poop free but odor-free too.
How to prevent dust mites
The last thing you want hiding in your baby’s mattress are dust mites. Dust mites are microscopic bugs that live in mattresses and feast on the dead skin flakes that shed and land on the mattress. Many babies are allergic to dust mites.
Sounds awful, right? Let’s take a look at the different ways you can prevent dust mites from being a sleeping companion to your baby.
Watch the humidity
Dust mites absolutely hate dry air. Use a dehumidifier to keep relative humidity below 50% .
Air out the crib mattress
It is a good habit to air out your crib mattress from time to time to prevent odors from forming. Airing the mattress out in the sun has an additional benefit, the sunlight kills dust mites.
Wash your bedding
Wash crib bedding once a week in hot water (at least 140°F). Hot water kills dust mites on contact.
Freeze all non-washables
If you have crib bedding such as bumpers and pillows that cannot be washed, simply place them in an airtight plastic bag and freeze over night. Prolonged exposure to cold kills dust mites.
Extra Crib mattress safety advice
The mattress will need to fit tightly into your baby’s crib. A gap between the crib and mattress can not only trap your baby but also poses a suffocation risk.
You can perform a simple gap hazard test by using two fingers. Simply poke around the sides of the crib where the mattress meets. If you cannot fit two fingers between them then your baby should be safe.
Avoid air and water mattresses
In the early stages of your baby’s life, air and water mattresses should be avoided at all costs. The same goes for any mattress that sags to such an extent that it conforms to your baby’s body shape.
These mattresses are a suffocation hazard just waiting to happen. If your baby wiggles into a compromising position, your little one may find himself unable to breath.
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